Pacific 3 East 2
by/par Dan Kinvig
The parking lot of the Weyburn Colosseum was filled with cars adorned with Camrose Kodiaks flags and Alberta license plates on Sunday afternoon, and the Kodiaks made sure their fans didn’t make the long drive for nothing.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League champs defeated the Hawkesbury Hawks 3-2, in the first game of the Royal Bank Cup for both teams.
The Kodiaks carried the play for much of the first period, as their fleet forwards gave the Hawks’ defense fits. But Hawks goalie Mitch O’Keefe kept his team in the game early. He made a nice glove save two minutes into the game off the Kodiaks’ Mason Raymond as the Camrose sniper drove to the net during a power play. Later in the period, on another Camrose power play, O’Keefe bailed out his team after a weak clearing attempt, snagging a point shot with his glove.
Camrose finally broke through at 16:02 of the first period, after Hawkesbury forward Tom Mele was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing Kodiaks’ defenseman Sean Connauton.
Less than a minute into the power play, Ryan Mayko tipped in a point shot from TJ Fast. The puck fluttered over O’Keefe, who had been stationed at the top of the crease, and rolled into the net.
Camrose outshot Hawkesbury 15-4 in the opening period, in part because they spent almost seven minutes on the power play.
The Kodiaks picked up right where they left off in the second period, taking a 2-0 lead on a goal by Chance Olsen. A point shot from Kodiaks captain Travis Friedley ricocheted off several sets of legs and onto the stick of Olsen, who backhanded the puck into an open net.
The Hawks looked to be in trouble, but got back in the game with a power play goal at 8:25. After the Kodiaks failed to clear the puck, Mathieu Picard won a battle for the puck and roofed a wrist shot over the glove of Camrose goalie David Thompson.
The goal seemed to energize Hawkesbury. They started using their superior size to their advantage, winning battles along the boards and limiting the rushes of the smaller Camrose forwards. The Hawks tied the game at 12:16, when Stefan Lachapelle shoveled a loose puck over a fallen Thompson after a frantic scramble in the slot.
But the Camrose forwards found their legs in the third period, and Scott Dafoe broke the tie. He flicked a centering pass from Nick Harsulla over O’Keefe’s blocker at 10:56.
Hawkesbury’s best chances to tie the game came on a power play with four minutes left, but a holding penalty to the Hawks’ Philippe Devault erased the man advantage.
Players of game were Mathieu Picard of the Hawks and Mason Raymond of the Kodiaks.
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